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My husband is in the end stage of dementia. I live with my daughter and she has 4 children 9 yrs to 17 yrs. I am concerned of the effect on them.

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Your husband's death itself will only have a major negative impact on the children if it's a trauma. Whether his death is traumatizing will mostly depend on how the adults act and react whether he dies in the home or in a hospital. The first death or loss a child experiences is difficult and it often determines how they view death for the rest of their lives. Don't push the kids to actually be in the room if they are uncomfortable being there. Treat his death as a loss for you but also a relief that your husband's suffering has ended and he is at peace once again. I was taught that death is the great healing where the soul leaves the broken body and enters heaven where they is no pain or broken brain and where you are greeted by the loves ones who have passed before you. The view that someone is in a better place, pain free and happy has been very comforting when disease has called loved ones home.
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Pandabear Mar 8, 2019
Firstly, kudos to you and your daughter for still having him at home. The children must have already seen so much. Is it possible to have your husband moved to a hospice for this final stage?
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I remember I was 16 when my grandfather died. It deeply effected me because I adored him. I considered him to be larger than life.

He meant so so much to me. He was a shipbuilder and would build me all sorts of things. My favorite, a pair of stilts. I absolutely loved them. Became so good at walking in them I could walk around the block on them. All my friends loved them and my loving grandfather built some for them too.

He would take me on errands with him and everyone knew who he was. He made sure they knew me. He always introduced me to everyone he knew and had a way of making me feel important.

He taught me how to garden. He had a green thumb. He grew the most beautiful roses. He told me pearls of wisdom growing up. I just loved him so.

When I saw him dying in the hospital and he didn’t know who I was it nearly destroyed me. I had never experienced that before. So I would say to prepare them for whatever they may see. Take care and God bless you and your family.
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Just looked at ages of children. Explanations have to be age appropriate. The oldest one will be able to comprehend the most. The other two are young.

Don’t force anything on them. Let their actions guide you. The child next door said to her mom that she wanted to remember grandpa as he was and her mom did not make her go into be with him in his final hours.

All will miss their grandfather. Grandparents are special.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 9, 2019
Just wanted to tell you that my children were 4 and 11 when my father died. I sheltered the four year old thinking that she was too young for the wake. I was terrified of wakes as a kid. They were all open caskets and it was creepy for me because my great aunt told me they were sleeping. Had nightmares.

My father wanted closed casket. But she was so close to my dad that I thought it would be too upsetting. Maybe I was right, maybe wrong. I don’t know.

My 11 year old went to everything and felt closure. She wasn’t afraid. My 4 year old was furious with me for not allowing me to go. All I can say is I did what I thought was best at the time. It’s a tough call.
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Sorry, what an idiot I am not to think -

Would it be easier for *you* if your husband were transferred for end of life care out of the family home? Would you rather be alone with him in a dedicated hospice facility?

If so, you must tell your daughter that. This is your husband and it's your say.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 9, 2019
Countrymouse,

You are never an idiot. I love reading all of your posts.
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Is your Husband on Hospice? ...(if he is not make that call today)
If so they can help with this.
Have you talked to the grand kids about this? If so what do they think?
It is possible that when he begins to show EOL (end of life)signs he can be take to an In Patient Unit so the children do not have to have his death occur in their home. (This is often done)
Death at home can be very peaceful and truthfully your husband will probably be medicated. Morphine is often used as it is easy to administer to someone that is no longer eating or drinking. This will ease pain morphine is NOT given to hasten death.
My grand kids visited grandpa up until the day before he died and they did not seem to have a problem but they were not there when he died. They knew he was not well and they knew he was going to die.
This is a discussion to have with Hospice Social Worker, possibly the Chaplain definitely your daughter and include the kids in a separate discussion as well. Let them decide if they want to be with Grandpa or not. There is NO right or wrong. If they do not want to be there they can write a letter to him, if they want the letter private to him alone have them put it in an envelope and seal it and give it to your husband.
Tell the truth if they have seen his decline, seen what you and their mom have gone through I would think they would understand that death is just another part of this. They will witness him stopping eating, stopping taking in fluids, the fluids in the throat that make him make the gurgling sounds. all that is a part of the death process. The death itself while it is the final and most heartbreaking part for everyone else it is the easiest for your loved one.
((Hugs)) to you and your family.
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My father died at home in 1974 before Hospice. My children were 9 and 11. I had friends that thought it wasn't a good idea for them to "see" it. So, I asked them, I said, "Would you be more comfortable if Grandpa was in the hospital". Children couldn't go to the hospital. They told me that they wanted him at home because they wouldn't be able to see him if he was at the hospital. Every day, they would do their homework in his room, watch television, etc. When he had hallucinations from the morphine, I just explained that he was having a nightmare and he couldn't wake up. We let them know that death was part of life. We went to church and mentioned that this life wasn't all there was. No adult was hysterical, no screaming etc. My mother would watch him during the night while I slept, I watched him during the day. It was good because, the normal running of the house was there. I was not watching him at the hospital, I was there to get the kids off to school, and I was there when they came home. Family and friends came to say goodbye, all was calm and natural. Our doctor would stop by to see how he was.

My daughters are 53 and 55. I just called them to ask if they were traumatized at his death. Both said no, that they learned about death being a part of life. They felt it was a natural thing. They grieved, but were at peace with his passing.

My daughter's sister-in-law's mother recently pulled her own plug in the hospital. There was no hope of her ever going home and she said she didn't want to live that way. Her grandson and my grandson both were 11, they went to the hospital with the adults to say good-bye. My daughter promised Peggy that we would take care of the grandson and daughter for her. Then they left and the doctors let her die. The kids just took it natural.

I believe if the adults don't cause a scene, the kids will be ok. I didn't get to go to my cousin's funeral when I was 12 and he was 8. I always resented my mother for not letting me say goodbye.
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Dianne38 Mar 9, 2019
Your family dealt with the passing in a warm, caring environment, and I'm sure he was happier the situation was that way also. Very respectable and sorry for your loss:)
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This brings back a memory of a great uncle's death. He had died suddenly and unexpectedly at age 66, when I was five. I was told my 8 y/o sister happened to look out the window (at my grandparents' home--the great uncle was my grandfather's brother and neighbor) and remarked "Uncle David is sitting funny in his lawn chair". I was at the viewing; I'm not certain if I was at the funeral. My reaction was basically just "well, okay, there he is now, he's dead" while seeing him in the casket, and that was that. Flowers die, bees die--and so does every other living thing, including people. Obviously I wasn't "traumatized" and deaths, particularly of old people, don't get me upset although I miss the people afterward. I realize everyone's different, but I wonder if people aren't sometimes "overprotective" of children--maybe it's better simply to take cues from the individual children as to what is appropriate for them. I think about what NeedsHelpWithMom said about the 4 year old being furious for not having been allowed to attend.
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Isthisrealyreal Mar 9, 2019
Perfect response, I was going to say something very similar.

I don't think we do our young people a service when we shield them from reality to much.
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It doesn't have to be traumatizing. Death is a part of this life we have been given. As a child I was exposed to death as a natural part of the life process. It gave me a greater appreciation for life. I came to appreciate my life and that of others and think of life as precious, because I knew it was not guaranteed or forever. An understanding of the cycle of humanity based on life experience is, in my opinion, precious.
I would suggest treating death as a natural part of the living process. As others have said, let the kids decide how much or how little they are in the room with him. Don't allow adults who may be angry or hysterical to be around the children. Listen to the kids and allow them room to grieve in their own way and on their own timeline. Protect them from the sometimes careless words of others too. I agree with those who said that the children's experience will be primarily based on the way the adults in the household handle things. (hugs) Bless you and your family.
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Reply to faeriefiles
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I think you must be honest with them that dying is part of life. If the family is suffering, I would not let small children see that but the older ones should be able to understand. Personally, I think most people would want to die at home surrounded by loved ones. To me, dying outside of one's home would be horrible to even consider. Please respect that wish if they ask to die at home.
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Kid's are a lot more resilliant and intuitive than you give them credit for. My FIL passed away in our home while on Hospice, and several times a week, my 2 Grandsons ages 3 and 7 at the time (and who had always been close to him), were frequent visitors, seeing him in his decline.

Their Mommy and Daddy (our Son and DIL) did a great job of explaining that Great Grandpa was sick and that he would be dying soon, and they made special efforts to bring cards, pictures and little treats for him at each visit. When G-Grandpa did pass, we all took the time to discuss it openly and on a level in which they could understand, and always answered to them, any questions that they had on the dying process.

Iinterestingly, the boys weren't afraid, they handled his death incredibly well, and were present at the family graveside service we put together and even participated in sharing their favorite memories of him. Afterwards we all went to dinner at G-Grandpa's favorite restaurant, where we continued to speak openly of his recent passing, as well as sharing more stories of his life, so it's all about the manner in which you handle the situation, and in ours, there were no hysterics, only fun memories, and the understanding that he was now in Heaven, reunited with his wife, and that he was happy and whole again, and no longer suffering from illness and pain. In MO, kids just need to hear the truth, and to be heard, they don't need things to be sugar coated, but also be told things in an age appropriate manner. I know that I was impressed in how the kids handled everything at such a young age.
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